Welcome to Week 10 of the college football season.
Each week, our VSiN experts will combine to give their best bets on select games.
We had a 5-4 showing in Week 9 and we’re looking to stay on the plus side in Week 10. Odds are from DraftKings (unless noted) as of Wednesday night. Go to VSiN.com for Betting Splits and live odds across the college football market.
Season record: 41-45-1
Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Adam Burke: It has been a disappointing season for two Sun Belt heavyweights, but a win in this game will go down as a big one. It’s a little crazy to say the Chanticleers have been disappointing with a 7-1 record, but they are only +37 in point differential overall and +11 over five conference games. The reason is this defense has fallen in a big way.
An offensive dropoff was expected with the losses of some stars at the skill positions, including WR Jaivon Heiligh and TE Isaiah Likely, but QB Grayson McCall still owns a 19-1 TD-INT ratio this season and Coastal still boasts the 30th-ranked offense in yards per play.
The defense hasn’t just dropped off. It has fallen off the face of the earth. The Chanticleers have allowed 6.23 yards per play, ranking 114th entering Week 10. They’ve allowed 6.55 YPP in conference games and 6.82 YPP in October, so they’re getting worse as the season goes along. In their 49-21 loss to Old Dominion, the Chanticleers gave up 323 rushing yards on just 32 carries. App State has to be salivating to get a crack at this run defense, as the Mountaineers rank 25th in YPP and 20th in yards per carry with 5.26.
This is a real step up in class for the App State defense, which has been able to pad some numbers against The Citadel, Texas State, Georgia State and Robert Morris over the last four games. Coastal Carolina should be able to move the ball, and App State will definitely be able to move it.
Pick: Over 64
Saturday, Noon ET
Adam Burke: A lot of people thought last week was going to be a major letdown spot for TCU. The Horned Frogs only won by 10 and the cover was in doubt throughout the game, but West Virginia can’t stop a nosebleed and TCU had 8.98 yards per play. From a box-score standpoint, the game shouldn’t have been close.
After cashing on TCU last week, I’ll be going against them this week. Texas Tech has a respectable defense that has only allowed 5.3 yards per play. West Virginia had allowed well over six yards per play entering last week’s game. This will be an 11 a.m. kickoff in Fort Worth, so it could be a sleepy spot for the favorites. Furthermore, TCU has an enormous game on the road against Texas next week.
Texas Tech was soundly beaten 45-17 last week by Baylor, but bettors came in early this week on the Red Raiders, even though TCU has one of the best offenses in the country and a huge edge in yards per play differential. Seems pretty telling, right? It’d be nice if this line got back to 10, but I think Texas Tech puts a real scare into TCU this week.
Pick: Texas Tech +9.5
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Tim Murray: After an improbable 5-0 start, the shine has worn off a bit on America’s team. Kansas has lost three straight and has been without starting QB Jalon Daniels since the first half of the Jayhawks’ 38-31 loss to TCU on Oct. 8. Kansas coach Lance Leipold told reporters on Monday that Daniels, who has been out with a shoulder injury, practiced with the team. Daniels and QB Jason Bean were both listed on the depth chart this week.
Fortunately for the Jayhawks, they are coming off a bye this week. Oklahoma State will be playing its sixth consecutive game. The Cowboys were destroyed by Kansas State 48-0 last week. QB Spencer Sanders exited the game with a shoulder injury. Sanders' status is unclear for Saturday. If he is unable to play, redshirt freshman Gunnar Gundy (head coach Mike Gundy’s son) will make his first career start. In addition to Sanders, the Cowboys have been dealing with injuries on their offensive line and in the secondary.
I faded Kansas for three straight weeks in this space (and went 2-1 doing so), but I am backing the Jayhawks this week. The injuries are piling up for Oklahoma State, while Kansas is getting healthier (CB Cobee Bryant is expected back). Leipold’s offense with an extra week to prepare should be able to put up plenty of yards against a Cowboys defense that is allowing 455 yards per game (worst in the Big 12). Lastly, motivation will be high for the Jayhawks as they would become bowl eligible with a win. Kansas has not been to a bowl since 2008.
Pick: Kansas +2
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Adam Burke: This feels like the perfect bounce-back spot for James Franklin and Penn State. The Nittany Lions tend to play pretty well in a bully role. They have major issues against teams that are comparable or better, but Indiana does not fit either of those descriptions. Far from it, actually.
Penn State allowed 7.3 yards per play in losses to Ohio State and Michigan. Otherwise, the Nittany Lions have allowed just 4.78 yards per play across their six wins and they’re two-touchdown favorites to improve to 7-2 this week. Including those two outlier efforts against elite teams, Penn State and Indiana nearly have the same yards per play allowed this season. Where they dramatically differ is on the other side of the ball.
Indiana enters Week 10 ranked 125th with 4.5 yards per play. Things aren’t getting any better against Big Ten competition, as the Hoosiers have mustered just 4.22 yards per play in five conference games. Penn State, meanwhile, ranks a respectable 41st with 6.18 YPP, including 6.32 YPP against teams not named Ohio State or Michigan.
The disappointment of losing to Ohio State again will likely be taken out on Indiana. This should be a blowout in favor of the favorite.
Pick: Penn State -14
Saturday, 3:30 p,m. ET
Wes Reynolds: UCF earned a comeback victory over Cincinnati in the final minute despite having quarterback John Rhys Plumlee knocked out of the game. Plumlee is questionable for this one with a concussion. Mikey Keene, who started nine games last season, came on in relief and threw for 176 yards (15-for-21). Perhaps the more pass-heavy UCF caught the Bearcats off guard as Gus Malzahn prefers a dual-threat quarterback, which Plumlee is, and that is what Cincinnati was prepared to face.
If Plumlee is cleared, the line should tick up a bit, but this is a good buy-low spot for Memphis, who faces its most pivotal game of the season. The Tigers are 4-4 but are off a bye week and are a little better than their record. They had a 13-point lead at Houston with less than 1:30 to play and somehow lost 33-32. Then, they blew a three-score lead at East Carolina and ended up losing 47-45 in 4 OT. Finally, they had to go to Tulane the next week in a bad spot and got down 35-0 before outscoring Tulane 28-3 in the second half (14-3 in the fourth quarter). Memphis actually leads FBS in fourth quarter scoring at 15 PPG.
The Tigers are 7-0 ATS as a home dog in the Liberty Bowl since 2016 and are 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS in this situation under Ryan Silverfield.
Pick: Memphis +3.5
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Adam Burke: Expect a lot of garnet and black in Nashville as the Gamecocks look to bounce back from last week’s loss to Missouri. Let’s start by talking about the mammoth special teams edge for South Carolina in this game. The reason SC is 5-3 is because of what they’ve done on special teams, particularly the punt team. Vanderbilt ranks 123rd in special teams per Bill Connelly’s SP+ Rankings. South Carolina ranks No. 1.
This is also a pretty good Gamecocks defense. South Carolina is a bit better than the national average in yards per play allowed with 5.27 and Vanderbilt is 126th with 6.69, so that’s another big advantage for the visitors. I (and many others) haven’t been the least bit impressed with Spencer Rattler or the Gamecocks offense, but Vanderbilt is one of the nation’s worst defenses from a yards per play standpoint. The Commodores are also a bottom-30 team on third down both offensively and defensively.
I understand the lack of confidence in the Gamecocks and I’ve been thinking about spots to fade them, but this isn’t one of them. There are a lot of 6.5s available and getting one of those is a good bet. I downgraded South Carolina more than any other team in my power ratings this week, and I still have this line in double digits.
Pick: South Carolina -6.5 (widely available)
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Murray: After a 2-3 start (0-3 in the ACC), it appears Louisville has turned the corner and likely saved coach Scott Satterfield’s job. The Cardinals are riding a three-game winning streak that includes a dominating 48-21 victory over then-No. 10 Wake Forest. Next week, the Cardinals visit No. 4 Clemson. With FBS newcomer James Madison in town this week, is this a letdown spot following the Wake Forest win? A lookahead spot with Clemson on deck? It certainly looks like a classic sandwich spot for Louisville.
Despite cruising late against Wake, the Cardinals actually trailed at halftime. The Demon Deacons committed six turnovers in the third quarter, with Louisville outscoring them 35-0 in those 15 minutes. The 35-point output tied a record for the most points in a quarter against an AP top-10 team. The Cardinals lead the nation with 24 takeaways. Is their turnover fortune due for some regression?
James Madison heads to Louisville following a much needed off week. QB Todd Centeio did not play Oct. 22 against Marshall due to an oblique strain. The Dukes offense totaled just 247 yards and backup Billy Atkins threw four interceptions in the loss. James Madison also went 0-for-17 on third downs against Marshall. There is optimism that Centeio will be back against Louisville. Centeio has thrown 17 touchdown passes this season and is ninth in the nation in passing efficiency.
Since this is James Madison’s first season in the FBS, the Dukes are ineligible for a bowl game. James Madison was an FCS powerhouse the past decade and entered the AP Top 25 earlier this season. With the Dukes getting healthier coming out of the bye week, I would not be surprised if James Madison treated Saturday night as their bowl game. Add in the situational spot for Louisville, and the Dukes could be a live dog.
Pick: James Madison +7.5
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Wes Reynolds: It was only a matter of time before Auburn parted ways with Bryan Harsin and the Tigers did so this week. Auburn will be led the rest of the season by former Tiger legendary running back Cadillac Williams in the interim coach role.
In recent weeks, we have seen teams rally after their head coaches have been fired. Charlotte was the latest to do so last week. Prior to that, Colorado, Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, and Arizona State (third game after Herm Edwards was fired) all won in this role in the first game after the head coach was sacked.
With Williams at the helm, Auburn could become even more run-heavy on offense. Defensively, the Tigers have been gashed on the ground but that should not be as much of a problem here as Mississippi State pass as much as anyone in the nation.
Mississippi State does come off a bye week, but historically this has not been a good spot for Mike Leach. Including bowl games, Leach is just 9-19 ATS (32.1%) with two or more weeks in between games since 2005.
After the annual shellacking against Alabama, it is fair to wonder where Mississippi State’s collective heads are at the moment. Meanwhile, Auburn may have a sigh of relief that this coaching situation cloud is over and could rally under Cadillac Williams.
Pick: Auburn +13